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Covenants & Conventions (WP-02-03)

Richard R. W. Brooks

This work presents a theory of residential segregation through enforcement of racial restrictive covenants and social conventions. The empirical analysis of the paper demonstrates that covenants had a significant impact on housing prices, an impact that continued to resonate decades after state enforcement of these covenants was ruled unconstitutional. As such, it is argued that formal and informal (or unofficial) uses of racial restrictive covenants played a key role in establishing and perpetuating long-standing racial residential segregation patterns in the North.

Richard R. W. Brooks, School of Law, Northwestern University

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